Monday, January 24, 2005

tertiary musings

(third in this series of list exchanges; other two immediately preced this one).

I wanted to just add something to my previous (the second iteration) of my musings as I think this identifies a profound sociological reality, too; to return to a passage from the quote from Sogyal Rinpoche…

“As you begin to think more and more about the tree, you will discover that everything in the universe helps to make the tree what it is; that it cannot at any moment be isolated from anything else; and that at every moment its nature is subtly changing. This is what we mean when we say things are empty, that they have no independent existence.”

Is this not true of our “selves,” too? Embedded in the ever-shifting social realities that we encounter each day, our selves are “inherently empty,” too. I think Mead laid the foundation for this (as well as James). If our mind and our self are social products and are not fixed, then it stands to reason (and experience, actually) that they change, shift, etc., based on the situations that we encounter. They, too, like the tree are aided, if not created, by “…everything in our [social] universe...” Granted, we are not passive recipients of social conditioning, there is something that consciously acts (Mead’s “I”); I do think that we attribute undue influence to that thing as the prime “agent,” however. We forget that that agent is always acting within the bounds of a massively influential social universe. Given that the language we use is not really “ours” personally (it belongs to the group), how can we conclude that even the thoughts that we think (or thinking itself) are “our own,” let alone the actions that we take? (This is not to be interpreted as endorsing socially irresponsible nor harmful behavior, just thinking out loud to a seemingly logical conclusion). I see this, too, in Mill’s vocabulary of motives.

Takes the notion that, “things are not what they seem” to new heights.

No comments: